Based on early sales figures for “The Hobbit” tickets, it looks like the relatively quiet movie chatter is about to become a roar now as the holidays approach. Fans hoping to see “The Hobbit” have taken to Fandango to pre-order their tickets and inadvertently offered a glimpse into how much money movie theaters cane expect to make over the next month. Hint: It’s a lot.
Fandango announced that 76 percent of all sales were for “The Hobbit,” which was directed by “Lord of the Rings” filmmaker (and critical darling) Peter Jackson. It stars Martin Freeman as Bilbo Baggins, who goes on a quest pulled straight from the pages of the J.R.R. Tolkien novel of the same name.
Cinema Blend reported that while “The Hobbit” had a stranglehold on the top spot, second place belonged to “Les Miserables,” not scheduled to be released in the United States until Christmas. The pre-order tickets have been astonishing but, so far, have seemingly validated the prediction from Box Office Mojo, which expected “The Hobbit” to gross a total of $330 million. “Les Miserables” came in with an estimate of $125 million on the same list.
While visiting Fandango, some fans also took the time to fill out a survey detailing their experience with Tolkien’s story and other fantasy movies in the past. Cinema Blend gave an insight into the poll results.
· 91 preview of respondents have seen at least one of the “Lord of the Rings” films;
· 81 percent have read at least one of J.R.R. Tolkien’s original books;
· 90 percent were glad to see “Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson back to direct “The Hobbit;”
· 73 percent were also fans of the Harry Potter franchise, while only 27 percent considered themselves fans of the “Twilight” franchise;
· 72 percent are happy that “The Hobbit” story spans three installments;
· 61 percent said Jackson’s high-frame-rate technology made them more curious to see the movie.
“The Hobbit” will open in U.S. theaters on Friday, which explains why the movie was such a popular topic on social media and nationally trending on Twitter for much of the day before. Fandango offered prizes to anyone who tweeted trivia answers and other fan tidbits with the hashtag “#FandangoHobbit,” a smart piece of advertising that catapulted the brand name the trending page, visible to almost everyone on Twitter.
Such marketing stunts weren’t possible when Jackson came out with the original “Lord of the Rings” trilogy. The movies were able to capitalize on the success of Tolkien’s books combined with cinematic storytelling and special effects that eventually turned out audiences to the tune of $2.8 billion.